Since we moved to the Carcassonne area more than a decade ago, our favorite time to visit la Cité has been in winter.
With everything in town closed up tight on Sundays (even in peak season), our family would take a stroll around la Cité, where the Belle Epoque carousel twirled before the gates (it has moved to Place Gambetta) and where souvenir shops and cafés bustled, even in January.
Well, “bustled” might be exaggerating a bit. We pretty much had the place to ourselves.
Today, I decided to take a turn through la Cité. It was gray but not cold at all. That’s the thing about winter here. Either you have gray skies and occasionally rain, but the highs are in the upper 40s and the lows are in the lower 40s, or you have clear skies and the highs are in the 50s and the lows might dip below freezing.
This winter has been exceptionally mild, and today started at 50 degrees at dawn and climbed to 52 in the afternoon, with a thick mist, like a fog that has just lifted from the ground but not yet dissipated.
I kind of liked it. It’s moody. Especially in la Cité.
I encountered a few couples, and one family with a not-yet-school-age boy. Most of the shops were closed, but it’s livelier on the weekends. For somebody more interested in the architecture than in tea towels embroidered with lavender, that was just fine.